The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
client login

Center Stage

      Stomp is the internationally acclaimed creation of Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas that features an impressive blend of percussion, rhythmic movement, and non-verbal comedy. I had the opportunity to see this unique production recently in Jackson.     
      The “concert” began with one person entering the stage with a push broom with which he employed to produce sound and rhythms by sweeping the broom’s bristles and knocking the broom head and handle on the acoustically-amplified floor. Other players soon joined the first with brooms of their own to form an ensemble of sorts. As the volume increased and the movement intensified, this small group worked together to offer a choreographed presentation that was syncopated in part but synchronized in whole.
      Other “scenes” in this dramatic production utilized paint cans and sticks, long poles, metal garbage cans and lids, 55-gallon storage drums, pots and pans, sinks, dust pans, flexible drain hose and a host of additional props for the production of sound and rhythms. Every participant wore heavy work boots to supplement the other “instruments.” Hence, I suppose, the title Stomp.     
      Reflecting on the presentation a few days later, I began to realize several elements of the performance of Stomp that seem to offer a tiny window into the manner in which the church was intended to function.  In short, Stomp was presented with Variety not only in the composition of the performers but also in the utilization of instruments.  “Actors” representing various ethnic, demographic, and cultural backgrounds filled the stage utilizing a variety of common, everyday tools as instruments.
      The church is comprised of a variety of individuals who represent a variety of backgrounds and experiences. This group is made up of many parts assembled and arranged by God according to his design and desire into the formation of one body…His body…the church. Each member of the body is to use their spiritual giftedness as a God-given tool or instrument to be deployed in fulfillment of a specific role and function within the body designed specifically by God for them (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).     
      As I enjoyed the presentation, I was struck by the Unity that was forthcoming within and among the actors in the midst of and despite the variety that was prevalent. Although the sounds and rhythms may have been syncopated at times, the choreographed movement and overall flow of the sounds being produced were both synchronized and unified. In other words, the group on stage had a goal and a purpose for their existence and they approached the task with unity as they worked together. In similar fashion, God intends for his church to exist in unity as each member of the body does his or her part while working together to accomplish a common purpose as “laborers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9) with “no divisions in the body” (1 Corinthians 12:25) in order that “the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”
(Ephesians 4:12-13).     
      In addition to the variety and unity that the Stomp performers displayed throughout the nearly two-hour production, Harmony was the unadvertised and unannounced result that was projected to those in attendance. Within the context of music, harmony is possible when dissonant chords or sounds are resolved by consonant chords and sounds. In other words, when a chord or sound distracts or detracts from the whole, then disharmony is the result. Harmony, however, means “to agree.” Musical harmony, therefore, is the outcome when individual notes contribute and collaborate to form a cohesive whole.
      In similar fashion, harmony is the manner in which God intends for the church to serve. Such harmony is highlighted by believers in the early church who “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship”…(as)…“all the believers were together and had everything in common”…breaking “bread in their homes…with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people” (Acts 2:42-47a).     
      In the discipleship study “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God,” Henry Blackaby stated “The church is a living organism, a body with Christ as its head. Each part of that body is related to Christ and to one another. Any time God guides His people, He can impact the world through that congregation” (p. 226, 2007). Through the church, therefore, a variety of unique people and personalities deploy their spiritual giftedness while coming together as a cohesive whole to form a harmonious orchestra that is unified in striving to make a Kingdom impact as guided by God.
      The church and each individual part that comprises the church are always on center stage. The world tends to view you and the church with skepticism, cynicism, and apathy. Why? Because too many members are not deploying their spiritual giftedness to fulfill their designated role. Why? Because unity and harmony often are non-existent within the church.     
      Dissonance and differences of perspective may be noticeable at times due in no small part to the variety of experiences, attitudes and approaches of those who comprise the church. Nonetheless, ministering together in unity and with harmony is vital for making a Kingdom impact within a local community and a world that desperately needs the kind of help and hope that the church is capable of providing. 


Heavenly Father: As a member of Christ’s body, may I utilize my spiritual giftedness to fulfill the role within the church that you have appointed for me. May I worship and serve you while leading your church to have and display a spirit of unity and harmony in the midst of a chaotic and confused world. May a local and global impact be forthcoming from these efforts and may you receive the glory! Amen.